Man’s Best Friend: Rottweiler (2004)
You hear that? That’s the optimistic sound of a brand new series starting!
Yes, we talk a fair amount about killer animals films here, and one species in particular has managed to savage himself a certain notoriety in cinema: The Killer Dog. There are hundreds of these movies out there, and due to Stephen King’s iconic Cujo they are somewhat of a mainstay of the killer animal genre. Admittedly, most of them are absolute shit on a stick, but there are enough juicy ones to keep the tail wagging.
Anyhow, first up is Brian Yuzna’s 2004 effort Rottweiler. I am promised unstoppable killer cyborg dogs in a mixed up dystopian future, and as Yuzna is directing, then there should be buckets of gore and more tits than a bird sanctuary.
Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell Yuzna this. Rottweiler is a terrible movie. The premise should be worth its weight in gold, and it initially opens in a reasonably promising way. We’re introduced to Dante (William Miller), who due to a bizarre scorpion related mishap has managed to escape from the slammer. He’s hunted down by a lone bounty hunter whose name I fail to remember and his large Rottweiler. So far, so good. However, in a painful twist, it turns out that this is actually neo-fascist Spain (not a lot has changed, actually) and Dante is trying to get to some city called Puerto Angel to find his beloved girlfriend Ula (Irene Montalà) who he has inexplicably managed to lose. To make matters worse for Dante, he’s suffering from that hacks tool of choice amnesia. Anyhow, Dante shoots the dog and the bounty hunter and goes on with his journey. Except the dog isn’t dead, no, fool, you cannot kill ROBOPUPPY with a mere bullet. So, the rest of the film has him being plagued by Terminator dog as well before a showdown with the fascist leader and it all collapses in on itself in a series of flashbacks and an utter miasma of boredom and irritation.
This film sucks balls, frankly. It, actually, more than a little bit pisses me off. Yuzna does throw in some gratuitous juggs, and curse him for it, because they appear at the half way stage and gave me hope that the film would improve just when I was ready to turn it off. There are so many fucking problems here that I don’t really know where to begin. The storyline is hopelessly confused, the acting inept, the direction all over the fucking place and the effects are lousy.
Let’s start with the fact that it’s set in the near future, purely so we can have a cyborg dog, yet the damned film looks like it was shot last week in El Ejido (nouveau riche town in Andalusia). Possibly because it was shot recently in Spain. Take, for example, his encounter with the mother and daughter in the desert. He pitches up at a building that looks like one of those old goat sheds that you see in the Spaghetti Westerns. They, apparently, live there and even hang their fucking washing outside. There’s no indication that the damned place has either electricity or running water. There’s nothing at all in this film that remotely suggests that this is a mixed up crazy future- there are no signs of high technology, and no thought put in to making it seem a bit more advanced than it is. Aside from the robodoggy, of course, but he’s almost in it as an afterthought.
Which is the big problem of the film. If I’m promised something about an unstoppable killing canine machine, then I damned well want an unstoppable killing canine machine. I do not want to sit there in a state of mild boredom following a complete arsehole with an inexplicable haircut around bits of Spain that flirt with being third world as he tries to overcome his amnesia. The film is basically a series of terminally boring encounters between Dante and some completely dull characters, who invariably get killed in boring ways by the dog soon after he meets them. It’s fucking boring, to be honest, and there’s nowhere near enough cyborg puppy action. Basically the crime here is that the angry dog has been reduced to an almost omnipresent threat. It’s there, but never does anything really, and worse than that, him being chased by the dog is little more than a sideplot to the main meat of the film. Seriously, replace the dog with La Guardia Civil armed with nightsticks and you have precisely the same fucking movie. That’s a cardinal sin in my book.
The second problem is that the main meat of the story, the douchbag with amnesia, is astronomically, monumentally, excruciatingly uninteresting. He’s also, partially because of the character and partially because of the performance, hugely unsympathetic and we just don’t give a fuck about his quest. If he was less of a mopey ringpiece of a human being then I might, but he isn’t, so I don’t. He’s a complete cunt, actually, on more than one occasion. Miller isn’t much cop as the lead, and Montala is even less cop in the flashbacks (which are about as informative as the message in a fortune cookie) so the film just dies on its arse completely. It doesn’t help that the majority of the motivation for the characters is incoherent- fascist boss, for example, has set cyborg puppy on him because its fun. No, cuntybaws, it isn’t fun. It’s boring. However, to be fair, he’s only done this because they broke into Puerto Angel because they thought that would be fun. I can’t see why they thought that, PA is a right shithole.
Finally, there are what passes for Special Effects in this film. Yuzna is usually a dab hand with these- the twisted people in Society are fan-fucking-tastic. Except he seems to have had some ginormous brainfart and decided to make the Rottweiler out of CGI. This does not work, at all. The pooch makeup in the early stages of the film was quiet good, but when it emerges from the (CGI) flame as a metal skeleton at the end it just reeks of failure, not dissimilar to the smell when a dog shits on your carpet.
Overall, this film is wank. It’s a giant pile of dogshit and a less than auspicious start to a new series. On the plus side, the only way now is up, but I feel more than a little bitter that I sat through what is clearly a fantastic schlocky premise to be served up some half-baked science fiction claptrap with an interest rate not dissimilar to the non-existent one I get on my savings. Yuzna seems to be in serious decline recently, and I suggest he gets his ass back to Herb West and undead cunt Dr. Hill pronto, as that’s far more his forte than some of the massively aggravating shite he’s turned out since. Go on Brian, give us Re-Animator IN SPACE. You know you want to.
Apparently, having just been reading up on it, I’m being dense, as it turns out the dog is half ghost. Not that you could work that out from the film. That makes it an Undead-Robot-killer dog and thus even more of a fucking waste. I actually want to smack Yuzna across the snout with a rolled up newspaper for this. So, next up, to cheer myself up, I’m taking one of the titans of the genre walkies- it’s time to look at the big dog in the series: Cujo.